Recent Chinese food scandals continue to pressure the meat industry to change the way it looks at animal production. More than 150 Chinese nutritionists and leaders from the largest poultry companies gathered in the East China city Qingdao recently for the 2nd Alltech China Nutritional Poultry Summit.
Speakers included Mike Kidd, University of Arkansas; Wang Zong, China Agriculture University; Peter Ferket, North Carolina State University; Lucy Waldron, editor of World Poultry Science, New Zealand; ex-Yum China Director Joaquin Pelaez, Aziz Sacranie, technical poultry director, Alltech; former CEO of Harim-Allen Farms Gary Gladys; and Liu Yuehuan, China Academy of Agriculture Science. The summit was chaired by Aidan Connolly, vice president, Alltech. The expert speakers covered a variety of topics such as amino acids, bioactive mannan rich fractions, organic trace minerals, organic selenium, solid state fermentation enzymes and glucan based mycotoxin deactivators.
Just less than a year ago Chinese mainstream media reported that KFC chicken in China were fed with chemicals and treated with antibiotics. One of the major Chinese chicken meat suppliers regularly used hormones to accelerate the growth of the birds. This type of media storm and several other scandals have put food safety concerns at the front and center of the consumer's minds and indeed the Chinese government’s agenda. Just as these stories began to fade, the industry was hit by influenza and other health challenges at farm level. Such disease issues in Asia have increased mortality and can dramatically reduce performance and profitability, according to Sacranie.
“Safe and traceable food is more important than ever,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, vice president corporate affairs at Alltech, during his concluding remarks. Despite the numerous food safety and farm disease challenges, Lyons strongly believes that the future of the Chinese poultry industry is bright and he urged the audience to redefine the way they look at poultry nutrition.
At the center of this discussion was the fact that the bird's immune system requires additional nutrient supplementation in times of disease challenge. Ferket suggested that this could be of the order of 20 to 25 percent. Research by Kidd focused on the role of individual amino acids, and varying amino acids requirements for performance and health. Given that different nutrients elicit different immune responses, it is clear that different diets can be formulated based on the challenge faced by the birds, for example, viral versus bacterial diseases. For this reason, proper nutrient management - incorporating the right nutrient at the right time and in the right form - is fundamental for optimal immune function and recovery from disease. To summarize the ideas presented, an ideal diet, from a disease prevention point of view, will address the detoxification of mycotoxins through the use of effective mycotoxin binding agents. An ideal diet will minimize undigested material through the use of solid state fermentation enzymes, bioactive MRF carbohydrates, and other plant extracts. An ideal diet will also contain bioavailable organically complexed minerals as well as optimal levels of vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients to create a balanced diet.